You are right in that service animals and emotional support animals need to be right sized for the job. However, you need to be careful not to discriminate between handicaps. Under the ADA and Fair Housing Standards Act, a tenant with no readily visible handicap can’t be treated differently in their accommodation from someone in a wheelchair. Also, the law is clear in that landlords do not have to allow any animal that is a known danger to others in the park. Many states have laws that for purposes of assigning liability in the event of a dog bite, make the park owner/apartment owner wholly responsible for the offending dog.
Also, you can require anyone seeking to bring in an animal into the park under the ADA or Fair Housing Standards Act that doesn’t generally meet the park guidelines to confirm certain issues in writing. This form letter is on our website, but I’ll paste it here for your convenience. Requiring the tenant to complete this proactive step and make the included affirmations is a good way to prevent the inflow of animals that aren’t truly service animals.
Dear Property Manager,
I am sending you this notice to advise you that I have a Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal in my care, custody and control. This animal meets the definition of a â€œService Animalâ€ pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or is an â€œEmotional Support Animalâ€ as defined by the Fair Housing Standards Act. My disability limits my ability to ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
I further advise you that my Service Dog is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. The Service Dog has been trained to provide assistance directly related to my disability. My Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal helps me to __________________________________________________________________
This Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal will be under my control at all times. The Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal will be harnessed, leashed, or tethered when outside my home, unless these devices interfere with the Service Dogâ€™s or Emotional Support Animalâ€™s work or my disability prevents using these devices. And when it is not physically harnessed, the Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal will be controlled through voice, signal or other effective controls.
Attached is the verification from my health care provider explaining how my Emotional Support Animal will assist me with my disability.
I agree and acknowledge as part of my tenancy contract/lease, that if my Service Dog or Emotional Support Animals is out of control and I, or its handler, do not take immediate effective action to control it, I will remove the Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal from the premises.
Tenant Signature /
Tenant Printed Name